Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Spleen Forum

Pain Under Left Side of Rib Cage (Page 9)

April 3rd, 2006
Left Side Pain
Hey all
when the pain you all are talking about started was it just sometimes????? Did you notice anything that brought it on.. After talking to others..

See I just noticed this past friday... I have been watching what I eat and exercising regualry for over two months now. I don't know....

Any ideas???
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replied April 5th, 2006
Experienced User
Irritable bowel syndrome: a tcm perspective
by toni balfour, l.Ac., dipl. Ac. & c.H.

Http://www.Balfourhealing.Com/treatment-ib s.Html

irritable bowel syndrome in western medicine

irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) is an intestinal disorder causing a variety of symptoms which may include cramping, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and irregular bowels. Some people with ibs have diarrhea with frequent loose stools, while others have constipation causing infrequent bowel movements that are difficult to pass. Still other ibs patients will suffer from alternating diarrhea and constipation. Symptoms are frequently triggered by stress, emotional factors, or the ingestion of food.

Ibs is the most common gastrointestinal disease seen by general practitioners and makes up 30-50% of all referrals to gi specialists. Women are affected three times more than men, with the average age of onset being between 20 and 40.

Ibs is described as a 'functional' illness -- the small and large intestines aren't functioning appropriately although there is no structural damage found through diagnostic testing. No anatomic defect can be found in ibs patients, and the cause of the illness is not known. What is known is that there is a link between the onset of symptoms and emotional triggers.

There are two major clinical types of ibs described in western medicine: diarrhea-predominant ibs and constipation-predominant ibs.

Diarrhea-predominant ibs is characterized by diarrhea which occurs immediately after waking up or immediately after eating. Other common symptoms include pain, bloating, urgency, and urinary incontinence.

Constipation-predominant (or 'spastic colon' type) ibs manifests with pain over at least one area of the colon and periodic constipation. This pain may be continuous or it may come in bouts, and is frequently relieved by moving the bowels. There may be constipation alternating with normal stools or constipation alternating with diarrhea. The stool often contains mucus. Associated symptoms include bloating, gas, nausea and dyspepsia. Eating can commonly trigger these symptoms.

Western medicine treats ibs with anti-spasmodic or anti-diarrhea medication, diet modification and stress reduction techniques.

What is traditional chinese medicine?

Traditional chinese medicine (tcm) is a holistic medical system which combines the use of acupuncture, chinese herbs, nutrition, massage, and movement exercises (known as tai chi or qi gong) to bring the body into balance.

Whereas western medicine looks closely at a symptom and tries to find an underlying cause, traditional chinese medicine looks at the body as a whole. Each symptom is looked at in relationship to all other presenting symptoms. The goal of the tcm practitioner is to assess the entire constitution of the patient -- considering both physiological and psychological aspects.

The practitioner first observes the general characteristics of the patient, then tries to discern a relationship between symptoms in order to establish what is called a "pattern of disharmony". Treatment is aimed at restoring harmony and bringing the body into balance.

The fundamental tcm theory used to determine the pattern of disharmony is the theory of "yin and yang". Yin and yang are terms used to describe two polar opposites. Each body part, each organ, and even each symptom in the body can be described in terms of yin and yang. Levels of yin and yang are constantly changing in the body and there are four possible states of imbalance:

excess of yin
excess of yang
deficiency of yin
deficiency of yang
it is rare for one of these states of imbalance to exist by itself. Excesses and deficiencies of yin and yang almost always appear in combination. For example, in irritable bowel syndrome the symptom of loose stools shows an excess of yin; but if the patient feels a burning sensation along with the loose stools, this indicates an additional excess of yang.

In treating the overall pattern of disharmony, the tcm practitioner uses acupuncture and chinese herbs to address all imbalances of yin and yang.

To look at the body as an integrated whole, one also looks at the theory of the 'internal organs'. The tcm definition of an internal organ is very different from the western concept. In western medicine, an organ is a material-anatomical structure. In chinese medicine each internal organ encompasses much more. There can be an anatomical structure, but there is also a corresponding emotion, tissue, sensory organ, color and element.

In addition, 12 of the internal organs correspond to the 12 main acupuncture meridians (or channels) that run through the body. There is qi (or energy) flowing through each meridian. If an internal organ is out of balance, the qi of that organ will be damaged.

Therefore, the chinese large intestine (which is capitalized to distinguish it as the chinese organ) shouldn't be equated with the western organ.

Irritable bowel syndrome affects the large and small intestines in western medicine, but in chinese medicine, the spleen, liver, kidney, and large intestine can all play a role in the pattern of disharmony.

Common patterns of disharmony in irritable bowel syndrome

spleen qi deficiency

in tcm the spleen is considered to be the key organ to regulate digestion. Keep in mind, this is not the same as the western spleen. Its functions actually have a closer connection to the western pancreas.

Ibs patients with a pattern of spleen qi deficiency will suffer from fatigue and diarrhea which is worse when they are overexerting themselves. This is often accompanied by abdominal pain which may be relieved by exerting pressure over the painful area. Patients may also have gas and bloating. Hemorrhoids are an additional indication of spleen qi deficiency.

Acupuncture points are chosen which will help nourish the spleen qi. There are also specific techniques used in needling that strengthen the body when the patient is deficient.

Another important part of treatment is the chinese herbal formula. In chinese herbalism, a group of herbs is combined together to specifically address a person's unique constitution. This is one way in which treatment is very individualized -- a master herbalist treats no two patients with the same combination of herbs.

Most herbalists use a "classical formula" as a foundation. Many classical formulas written up to 2,000 years ago are still commonly used today. Groups of herbs can be added or taken out of classical formulas to customize them for patients.

One classical formula used for spleen qi deficiency is called bu zhong yi qi tang. By adding and subtracting herbs from this formula, it can be individualized to fit the precise needs of the patient.

Spleen distressed by dampness

in this pattern, the patient may experience symptoms of spleen qi deficiency along with a feeling of nausea or heaviness. Bowel movements may feel incomplete, or the patient may even have constipation lined with mucus.

This condition is often caused by eating too much fried or greasy food, but may also be caused by emotional factors such as over-thinking or over-worrying.

Acupuncture points are chosen to nourish the spleen and eliminate dampness. The classical herbal formula to address this pattern is called shen ling bai zhu san.

Patients are additionally advised to keep a very clean diet. In chinese medicine dairy foods and excessive sugar intake create dampness, so these foods should be avoided altogether.

Excess cold in the spleen

an excess of cold in the spleen causes severe pain. The patient may be "doubling over" in pain, feeling as if curling up will somehow offer relief. Here the patient cannot tolerate being touched. This pain may be accompanied by constipation.

Acupuncture is given to warm the spleen, and the classical formula da jian zhong tang may be prescribed, although in severe cases of constipation additional herbs need to be added to give a laxative effect.

Spleen and kidney yang deficiency

yang energy provides warmth to the body and a deficiency of spleen and kidney yang may result in feeling cold or having cold hands and feet. Ibs patients with spleen and kidney yang deficiency will have diarrhea first thing in the morning which may contain undigested food particles. Other symptoms include chronic low back pain, low libido, frequent urination, or in severe cases, urinary incontinence.

Acupuncture treatment focuses on building up this deficient yang energy, and the classical formula si shen wan can be used along with additions and subtractions to suit the exact needs of the patient.

Liver qi stagnation

the chinese liver is the organ most affected by stress, aggravation, and anger. The liver is frequently involved in modern disease, most commonly when its qi becomes stagnant or stuck. There may be depression, moodiness, or simply a feeling of being 'wound up'. Women may suffer from irregular or painful periods.

The ibs patient with liver qi stagnation may have pellet shaped stools and distending pain, particularly in the area below the ribs. There may also be nausea, belching, or acid reflux. Symptoms can be triggered or aggravated by stress.

Acupuncture is very effective at restoring the smooth flow of liver qi, as are movement exercises such as tai chi or qi gong. The classical formula of choice for the ibs patient with liver qi stagnation is liu mo tang.

Liver/spleen disharmony

disharmony between the liver and spleen causes irritability along with abdominal distension and pain. The ibs symptom of alternating constipation and diarrhea is common in a liver/spleen disharmony. Stress, frustration, and anger aggravate the condition.

Xiao yao wan is a very commonly used classical formula for liver/spleen disharmony, but does need to be modified in most ibs cases. Tong xie yao fang is another classical formula used for liver/spleen disharmony and is the best choice when diarrhea is prevalent.

Acupuncture treatment will focus on soothing the liver and nourishing the spleen.

Damp-heat in the large intestine

abdominal pain and diarrhea with a sense of urgency are key symptoms indicating damp-heat in the large intestine. The diarrhea is commonly yellow and explosive with a strong odor and a sensation of burning. This heat indicates that there may be a low grade infection, although this type of chronic infection may not show up on lab tests. In addition, there may be a feeling of heaviness of the body and limbs and stuffiness in the chest.

Acupuncture is used to clear heat and eliminate dampness and a commonly used classical formula is ge gen huang qin huang lian tang.

Irritable bowel syndrome is clearly a complicated illness in both western and chinese medicine. Its many manifestations require very different treatment approaches in traditional chinese medicine. The patterns of disharmony mentioned above may even appear in combination and treatment must be adjusted appropriately. In any severe case of ibs, tcm treatment will be customized for the individual and classical herbal formulas will be modified for the patient.

Research on ibs & chinese herbs

an australian study published in 1998 in the journal of the american medical association lends strong scientific support to treating ibs with chinese herbs. In this double-blind study, 116 patients with irritable bowel syndrome were divided into three groups. One group was given a standard chinese herbal preparation, a second group was given customized herbal formulas (individually written for each patient), and a third group was given a placebo. Each patient had regular consultations with both a chinese herbal-medicine practitioner and a gastroenterologist. Both groups taking the chinese herbs showed significant improvement over the patients taking the placebo. Positive results were reported by both the patients themselves and the gastroenterologists. Although there was improvement in both groups of patients taking herbs, it is important to note that the positive effects were shown to last longer in the group that was given individualized formulas. Only these patients had maintained improvement on a follow-up consultation 14 weeks after completing the treatment.

This study clearly shows that chinese herbalism is most effective when each patient is treated not only for their condition, but also for their bodily constitution and other presenting symptoms. According to the principles of chinese medicine, each patient must be treated as an individual. Optimal results will be obtained with both herbs and acupuncture when specific treatments are customized for each patient.


beers, mark & berkow, robert (editors). The merck manual of diagnosis and therapy, 17th ed.. Merck research laboratories, whitehouse station, n.J. 1999.

Bensoussan a, talley nj, hing m, menzies r, guo a, ngu m. Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with chinese herbal medicine. Journal of the american medical association 1998; 280(18): 1585-1589.

Bensky, dan & barolet, randall. Chinese herbal medicine formula & strategies, eastland press, inc., seattle, washington 1990.

Kaptchuk, ted. The web that has no weaver. Congdon and weed, chicago, illinois 1983.

Maciocia, giovanni. The foundations of chinese medicine, churchill livingstone, new york 1989.

Please email questions here.

Copyright (c) 2000 antonia balfour
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replied April 5th, 2006
Experienced User
Ibs Symptoms
Condition: irritable bowel syndrome

irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) is a fairly common disorder of the intestines that can range from mildly annoying to severe and disabling. It is typically a chronic condition that comes and goes at different times, disabling the sufferer and then disappearing entirely. According to recent studies, two thirds of its sufferers are women. Today, nearly 20 million women have this condition.

How does irritable bowl syndrome develop?
Modern medical practioners have not been able to identify a reason for its onset, and, thus, have not found a cure. Although research is ongoing, ibs is believed to be the result of an overly sensitive colon. Ibs patients have stomach contractions that are stronger and last longer and than those of non-sufferers. Some doctors believe that the two major causes of ibs are stress and diet. Afflicted individuals often notice the syndrome after meals during times of stress. Stress, which operates through the nervous system, also triggers the colon into action. Others feel that since two thirds of sufferers are women, hormonal changes may play a major role, and that the condition may be more of an emotional or phycholocial problem.

Natural medicine practitioners, on the other hand, agree that ibs is often related to diet, but find that the "leaky gut" at the root this condition can be the result of an excessive use of antibiotics or other medications or an untreated yeast infection, problems that can usually be resolved.

What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
Afflicted individuals often describe cramping pains, gaseousness, bloating and irregular bowel action. Ibs can manifest itself in any number of ways including constipation, diarrhea, both, or no bowel movements at all. It can either be painful or painless. If diarrhea is a symptom, it may begin very suddenly and with extreme urgency, typically follows soon after a meal, although it can also occur immediately upon awakening. Diarrhea during the night is rare. Some individuals experience bloating, gas and cramping throughout the lower abdomen. Other symptoms of ibs include nausea, headaches, fatigue, depression, anxiety and difficulty concentrating.

Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but they do not address the root of the problem. By assessing the root of the problem, as natural medicine therapies do, irritable bowel syndrome can be alleviated permanently.

Discover why we believe that natural medicine treatments are the best way to treat ibs.

Learn about the treatments for irritable bowel syndrome

this information is provided for informational purposes only. It is essential to have your condition evaluated by your own personal physician. For an appointment with one of the natural medicine specialists at caring medical, please call 708-848-7789.
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replied April 5th, 2006
Experienced User
Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome:

the response of modern medicine
since the cause of irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) appears to be unknown, the modern medical community concedes that there is no standard or consistently effective treatment, and that results vary from individual to individual with those treatments that are tried. In addition to lifestyle modifications such as stress reduction, visualization and biofeedback, medications are usually prescribed, including analgesics, antidepressants, antihistamines, anticholinergics (to slow the bowel spasms) and pain pills. But the success rate at curing ibs with modern pharmaceuticals is modest at best. The problem with all of these approaches is not only that they do nothing to get at the root cause of ibs, and thus ultimately do not alleviate the pain, discomfort and frustration that individuals with this condition experience, but long-term use of certain drugs can lead to additional problems, including addiction.

The natural medicine approach to irritable bowel syndrome
for a person suffering from a chronic condition like irritable bowel syndrome, only natural medicine offers hope for a cure. A natural medicine practitioner will look for the underlying cause of the condition and use a variety of appropriate natural medicine treatments, including natural supplements.

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are very similar to interstitial cystitis. Both conditions involve significant amounts of chronic abdominal pain and can mimic each other with menstral irregularities, painful menstruation, pain on urination, pain with bowel movements, diarrhea, and/or constipation. In the case of ibs, substances that normally pass through the intestines get “soaked up” into the wall of the bowel, leading to irritation and inflammation.

Like all conditions treated by natural medicine, it is important to determine when the condition started. If the ibs began to be symptomatic after a surgical procedure, such as a laparoscopy for endometriosis, then neural therapy, a gentle healing technique developed in germany that involves injecting local anesthetics into autonomic ganglia, peripheral nerves, scars, glands, acupuncture points, trigger points, skin and other tissues, should be considered. Neural therapy would be used to treat the scars from the surgery as well as the pelvic sypathetic ganglion.

If the condition started after a yeast infection, the possiblity of candida lingering in the intestines must be considered and treated if found. Gastrointestinal infections, such as candida, have the potential to damage the lining of the intestines and the bladder. This sets up a condition in which the bowel walls become leaky and irritable, which characterizes ibs.

This concept is important to understand because both the bowel and the bladder are lined with prostaglandins and glycosaminoglycans to protect them from injury. Once these layers are destroyed via infection, medication, or chemicals, there is a greater likelihood that toxic substances will be absorbed into the system. The significant incidence of fibromyalgia in women often results from these “leaky gut” and “leaky bladder” syndromes. Also, because the most common substance in the digestive tract is food, nonabsorbable food substrates now become “absorbable” due to the increase in the intestinal permeability. This causes an immune reaction in the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (galt) and the development of food allergies. As a result, natural medicine physicians commonly check for food allergies in women suffering from ibs and ic. Staying away from the reactive foods gives the bowel and bladder a chance to heal.

Thus, to cure ibs, treatment of candidiasis and other microorganisms may need to be started. Various medications including diflucan, nystatin, lamasil, and nizoral can be prescribed, or aggressive natural nutriceuticals can be given to fight the fungal infection. Generally, acidophilus and bifidobacteria are also used along with substances that help heal the leaky bowel, including glutamine, biotin, gamma oryzanol, tumeric, horsetail, and bladderwack.

In addition, almost all individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis, bladder pain or urinary tract pain have urine that is too acidic. Acidic urine can be the result of eating too many carbohydrates, drinking too much coffee or alcohol, or even taking too many rounds of antibiotics.As a result of these observations, natural medicine doctors check the urine ph of patients, and if it is too acidic, will alkalize it by recommending the patient drink lime water and start on natural supplements like potassium citrate and deeper greens. In addition, patients are encouraged to eat fewer simple carbohydrates and replace them with more complex ones such as vegetables. The combination of all these treatments as needed is very effective at helping to cure ibs.

If you are interested in more information about natural medicine treatments, or to schedule an appointment with one of our natural medicine specialists, please contact caring medical at 708-848-7789 or online using our contact form.

Click here to receive our free electronic newsletter.

hauser diet
interstitial cystitis
yeast infection
what we do for irritable bowel syndrome

the treatment regimens suggested here are based on the experience of the natural medicine specialists at caring medical. They do not apply to every case or condition. A person using these recommendations without the aid of a personal physician does so at their own risk.
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replied April 8th, 2006
Possible Splenic Flexure Syndrome Symptoms
I am a 24 year old, fit male who has had similar symptoms for the past 3 years:

- mild to intense pain in upper left abdomen, just behind rib cage
- mild to intense pain on corresponding position in my back
- when intense, pain feels as if it penetrates through my body
- pain comes only during or after sleeping at night
- pain comes generally with gas
- pain intensity may be higher when larger quantity of food is eaten
- stretching and physical activity alleviates the pain more quickly

i have not been to see a doctor about this. From my first experiences with the pain, I associated the pain with lots-o-gas. At the time, I had just moved to guinea, africa, so I associated the increased gas with the change of diet. However, since returning home about 9 months ago, I still have had lots-o-gas, and a couple of nights each week the pain returns. I'm now used to it however, so it doesn't really affect my lifestyle.

After looking through the web pages, I think this may be splenic flexure syndrome. But, I can't be sure, there is hardly any info available on the web.

If anyone has stumbled across an effective treatment, please let us know.
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replied April 8th, 2006
to Whirlygirly: This Is a Forum, Not An Encyclopedia

when you find information that you believe is applicable to this forum, please only post the link. All of your lengthy postings make it hard to find useful information on this forum. Most of the info in your postings is irrelevant or only indirectly relevant at best.

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replied April 8th, 2006
Experienced User
This Isn't a Forum to Bash Others Postings.
I'm sorry you feel that way mr.Rogers. I apologize that some of this information may be irrelevant to you and to others (i don't know). Your irrelevance was my two year journey in finding answers. I finally found my answers after two irrelevant years of a long-haul search. I apologize that some of the information is long (and I apologize that it may be irrelevant to you/and I apologize that some of the same information did post over and over which was an accident). I had googled this site while I was going to my doctor to try to find answers. I actually found this site while googling irrelvant key words like "pain under left rib", stomach tenderness and so forth and low and behold--google "irrelvant encylopedia of garbage that I found on it" actually led me to this wonderful forum which I am very glad that I found. After trying to find my own answers to my own "irrelevant" symptoms and going to my doctor "who may have found it irrelevant too" because I had to have many tests to finally get a diagnosis--i researched myself on here to learn more--and wanted to post that information for others to read as well. Many of the postings that I read on here were very similar to mine--having numerous tests done (endoscopy, colonoscopy, ct scans, blood work) and everything was coming back normal. I'm sorry to you if you find my postings mere ramblings of what you consider irrelevance but this is what I was diagnosed with--"ibs" and I was posting what you considered irrelevant for others who have the same pain as i--i'm not sure what your relevance on this site is "you didn't seem to post anything relevant other than telling me not to post as much. I had pain under my left rib, stomach pain, and many of the symptoms others were experiencing. I finally got a diagnosis--and posted a lot of information on ibs to help/guide people into researching more on it themselves or to ask their doctors questions if they might have it, and save them the money, frustration, and the run around they may feel when everything is coming back normal on tests from their doctor.

I apologize for this great annoyance (i'm done posting all of my irrelevant "encylopedic garbage" but this garbage is what I was diagnosed with and I didn't know that much about it--which is why I was going to the gastro doctor, and thinking it was my esophagus or spleen. I don't consider research mere garbage--i found this site very useful and others postings useful in helping me research and understand my problems more. A lot of people who have the very symptoms on here--get sent to the gastro doctor (as my doctor did). In researching ibs, I found out that many people who indeed have ibs spent most of their dollars on gastro doctors,tests, and medicines/prescriptions, antacids--and some even have unneccessary surgery when it is ibs--ibs is long term/not cancerous--and can be with a person the rest of their lives. This, my friend, is not irrelevant---it can affect a person's daily life every single day and that is very relevant (because someone has to live with it and learn how to deal with it). This is a forum/like a support group for people who are going through this every day and seeking answers. I'm sorry if I posted enough to make you so annoyed that you had to take a shot at me that way--but I should never feel bullied through words to stop posting at all on this forum.

I was trying to spread the message of what ibs was and in researching it==i learned a little more about it as well. It is very misunderstood and most of the time people a lot of the symptoms overlap with other problems (ibs is the not just the bowel--its the entire digestive system--colon, intestines, stomach--the pressure on the colon---can place pressure under the ribs/stomach).

Next time instead of writing your critique on what you considered irrelevant on my postings, why don't you share something "relevant" yourself. This isn't a forum to bash other people's postings but to post information that could be useful for others. Why don't you try doing something like that.
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replied April 8th, 2006
Experienced User
Information On Celiac Disease On How to Treat It.
Irrelvant information on celiac disease--which plays a role in food sensitivity--which is associated with ibs--i am posting it--its useful to understanding it and reading it.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods, but is also found in products we use every day, such as stamp and envelope adhesive, medicines, and vitamins.


villi on the lining of the small intestine help absorb nutrients.

When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. The tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine are damaged or destroyed. Called villi, they normally allow nutrients from food to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Without healthy villi, a person becomes malnourished, regardless of the quantity of food eaten.

Because the body's own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disorder. However, it is also classified as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not absorbed. Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

Celiac disease is a genetic disease, meaning it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered-or becomes active for the first time-after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress.


what are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Celiac disease affects people differently. Symptoms may occur in the digestive system, or in other parts of the body. For example, one person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person may be irritable or depressed. In fact, irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children.

Symptoms of celiac disease may include one or more of the following:

recurring abdominal bloating and pain
chronic diarrhea
pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
weight loss / weight gain
unexplained anemia (a low count of red blood cells causing fatigue)
bone or joint pain
osteoporosis, osteopenia
behavioral changes
tingling numbness in the legs (from nerve damage)
muscle cramps
missed menstrual periods (often because of excessive weight loss)
infertility, recurrent miscarriage
delayed growth
failure to thrive in infants
pale sores inside the mouth, called aphthous ulcers
tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
a person with celiac disease may have no symptoms. People without symptoms are still at risk for the complications of celiac disease, including malnutrition. The longer a person goes undiagnosed and untreated, the greater the chance of developing malnutrition and other complications. Anemia, delayed growth, and weight loss are signs of malnutrition: the body is just not getting enough nutrients. Malnutrition is a serious problem for children because they need adequate nutrition to develop properly. (see complications.)


why are celiac symptoms so varied?

Researchers are studying the reasons celiac disease affects people differently. Some people develop symptoms as children, others as adults. Some people with celiac disease may not have symptoms, while others may not know their symptoms are from celiac disease. The undamaged part of their small intestine may not be able to absorb enough nutrients to prevent symptoms.

The length of time a person is breastfed, the age a person started eating gluten-containing foods, and the amount of gluten containing foods one eats are three factors thought to play a role in when and how celiac appears. Some studies have shown, for example, that the longer a person was breastfed, the later the symptoms of celiac disease appear and the more uncommon the symptoms.


how is celiac disease diagnosed?

Recognizing celiac disease can be difficult because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. In fact, sometimes celiac disease is confused with irritable bowel syndrome, iron-deficiency anemia caused by menstrual blood loss, crohn's disease, diverticulitis, intestinal infections, and chronic fatigue syndrome. As a result, celiac disease is commonly under diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Recently, researchers discovered that people with celiac disease have higher than normal levels of certain autoantibodies in their blood. Antibodies are protective proteins produced by the immune system in response to substances that the body perceives to be threatening. Autoantibodies are proteins that react against the body's own molecules or tissues. To diagnose celiac disease, physicians will usually test blood to measure levels of

immunoglobulin a (iga)
anti-tissue transglutaminase (ttga)
iga anti-endomysium antibodies (aea)

before being tested, one should continue to eat a regular diet that includes foods with gluten, such as breads and pastas. If a person stops eating foods with gluten before being tested, the results may be negative for celiac disease even if celiac disease is actually present.

If the tests and symptoms suggest celiac disease, the doctor will perform a small bowel biopsy. During the biopsy, the doctor removes a tiny piece of tissue from the small intestine to check for damage to the villi. To obtain the tissue sample, the doctor eases a long, thin tube called an endoscope through the mouth and stomach into the small intestine. Using instruments passed through the endoscope, the doctor then takes the sample.


screening for celiac disease involves testing for the presence of antibodies in the blood in people without symptoms. Americans are not routinely screened for celiac disease. Testing for celiac-related antibodies in children less than 5 years old may not be reliable. However, since celiac disease is hereditary, family members, particularly first-degree relatives-meaning parents, siblings, or children of people who have been diagnosed-may wish to be tested for the disease. About 5 to 15 percent of an affected person's first-degree relatives will also have the disease. About 3 to 8 percent of people with type 1 diabetes will have biopsy-confirmed celiac disease and 5 to 10 percent of people with down syndrome will be diagnosed with celiac disease.

The web contains information about celiac disease, some of which is not accurate. The best people for advice about diagnosing and treating celiac disease are one's doctor and dietitian.

what is the treatment?

The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet. When a person is first diagnosed with celiac disease, the doctor usually will ask the person to work with a dietitian on a gluten-free diet plan. A dietitian is a health care professional who specializes in food and nutrition. Someone with celiac disease can learn from a dietitian how to read ingredient lists and identify foods that contain gluten in order to make informed decisions at the grocery store and when eating out.

For most people, following this diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further damage. Improvements begin within days of starting the diet. The small intestine is usually completely healed in 3 to 6 months in children and younger adults and within 2 years for older adults. Healed means a person now has villi that can absorb nutrients from food into the bloodstream.

In order to stay well, people with celiac disease must avoid gluten for the rest of their lives. Eating any gluten, no matter how small an amount, can damage the small intestine. The damage will occur in anyone with the disease, including people without noticeable symptoms. Depending on a person's age at diagnosis, some problems will not improve, such as delayed growth and tooth discoloration.

Some people with celiac disease show no improvement on the gluten-free diet. The condition is called unresponsive celiac disease. The most common reason for poor response is that small amounts of gluten are still present in the diet. Advice from a dietitian who is skilled in educating patients about the gluten-free diet is essential to achieve best results.

Rarely, the intestinal injury will continue despite a strictly gluten-free diet. People in this situation have severely damaged intestines that cannot heal. Because their intestines are not absorbing enough nutrients, they may need to directly receive nutrients into their bloodstream through a vein (intravenously). People with this condition may need to be evaluated for complications of the disease. Researchers are now evaluating drug treatments for unresponsive celiac disease.

The gluten-free diet

a gluten-free diet means not eating foods that contain wheat (including spelt, triticale, and kamut), rye, and barley. The foods and products made from these grains are also not allowed. In other words, a person with celiac disease should not eat most grain, pasta, cereal, and many processed foods. Despite these restrictions, people with celiac disease can eat a well balanced diet with a variety of foods, including gluten-free bread and pasta. For example, people with celiac disease can use potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, or bean flour instead of wheat flour. They can buy gluten-free bread, pasta, and other products from stores that carry organic foods, or order products from special food companies. Gluten-free products are increasingly available from regular stores.

Checking labels for "gluten free" is important since many corn and rice products are produced in factories that also manufacture wheat products. Hidden sources of gluten include additives such as modified food starch, preservatives, and stabilizers. Wheat and wheat products are often used as thickeners, stabilizers, and texture enhancers in foods.

"plain" meat, fish, rice, fruits, and vegetables do not contain gluten, so people with celiac disease can eat as much of these foods as they like. Recommending that people with celiac disease avoid oats is controversial because some people have been able to eat oats without having symptoms. Scientists are currently studying whether people with celiac disease can tolerate oats. Until the studies are complete, people with celiac disease should follow their physician's or dietitian's advice about eating oats. Examples of foods that are safe to eat and those that are not are provided in the table below.

The gluten-free diet is challenging. It requires a completely new approach to eating that affects a person's entire life. Newly diagnosed people and their families may find support groups to be particularly helpful as they learn to adjust to a new way of life. People with celiac disease have to be extremely careful about what they buy for lunch at school or work, what they purchase at the grocery store, what they eat at restaurants or parties, or what they grab for a snack. Eating out can be a challenge. If a person with celiac disease is in doubt about a menu item, ask the waiter or chef about ingredients and preparation, or if a gluten-free menu is available.

Gluten is also used in some medications. One should check with the pharmacist to learn whether medications used contain gluten. Since gluten is also sometimes used as an additive in unexpected products, it is important to read all labels. If the ingredients are not listed on the product label, the manufacturer of the product should provide the list upon request. With practice, screening for gluten becomes second nature.

The gluten-free diet: some examples

following are examples of foods that are allowed and those that should be avoided when eating a gluten-free diet. This list is not complete, so people with celiac disease should discuss gluten-free food choices with a dietitian or physician who specializes in celiac disease. People with celiac disease should always read food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten.

Food categories foods recommended foods to omit tips
breads, cereals, rice, and pasta: 6 to 11 servings each day
serving size = 1 slice bread, 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal, ½ cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta; ½ bun, bagel, or english muffin bread made from corn, rice, soy, arrowroot corn, or potato starch; pea, potato, or whole-bean flour; or tapioca, sago, rice bran, cornmeal, buckwheat, millet, flax, teff, sorghum, amaranth, quinoa

hot cereals made from soy, hominy, hominy grits, brown rice, white rice, buckwheat groats, millet, cornmeal, quinoa flakes

puffed corn, rice, or millet, other rice and corn made with allowed ingredients

rice, rice noodles, pastas made from allowed ingredients

some rice crackers and cakes, popped corn cakes made from allowed ingredients breads or baked products containing wheat, rye, triticale, barley, oats, wheat germ, bran; graham, gluten, or durum flour; wheat starch, oat bran, bulgur, farina, wheat-based semolina, spelt, kamut

cereals made from wheat, rye, triticale, barley, and oats; or made with malt extract, malt flavorings

pastas made from ingredients above

most crackers use corn, rice, soy, arrowroot, tapioca, and potato flours or a mixture of them instead of wheat flours in recipes.

Experiment with gluten-free products. Look for gluten-free products at the supermarket, health food store, or directly from the manufacturer.
Food categories foods recommended foods to omit tips
vegetables: 3 to 5 servings each day (includes starchy vegetables)
serving size = 1 cup raw leafy, ½ cup cooked or chopped, ¾ cup juice all plain, fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables made with allowed ingredients any creamed or breaded vegetables (unless allowed ingredients are used); and canned baked beans

some french fries buy plain, frozen, or canned vegetables seasoned with herbs, spices, or sauces made with allowed ingredients.
Food categories foods recommended foods to omit tips
fruits: 2 to 4 servings each day
serving size = 1 medium size, ½ cup canned, ¾ cup juice, ¼ cup dried all fruits and fruit juices some commercial fruit pie fillings, dried fruit
food categories foods recommended foods to omit tips
milk, yogurt, and cheese: 2 to 3 servings each day
serving size = 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 ½ oz natural cheese, 2 oz processed cheese all milk and milk products except those made with gluten additives

aged cheese malted milk

some milk drinks, flavored or frozen yogurt contact the food manufacturer for product information if the ingredients are not listed on the label.
Food categories foods recommended foods to omit tips
meats, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, and nuts:
2 to 3 servings or total of 6 oz daily
serving size = 2 to 3 oz cooked; count 1 egg, ½ cup cooked beans, 2 tbsp peanut butter, or ¼ cup nuts as 1 oz of meat all meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs

dry peas and beans, nuts, peanut butter, soybeans

cold cuts, frankfurters, sausage without fillers any prepared with wheat, rye, oats, barley, gluten stabilizers, fillers including some frankfurters, cold cuts, sandwich spreads, sausages, canned meats

self-basting turkey

some egg substitutes when dining out, select meat, poultry, or fish made without breading, gravies, or sauces.
Food categories foods recommended foods to omit tips
fats, snacks, sweets, condiments, and beverages
butter, margarine, salad dressings, sauces, soups, desserts made with allowed ingredients

sugar, honey, jelly, jam, hard candy, plain chocolate, coconut, molasses, marshmallows, meringues

pure instant or ground coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, wine (made in united states), rum, alcohol distilled from cereals such as gin, vodka, whiskey

most seasonings and flavorings commercial salad dressings, prepared soups, condiments, sauces, seasonings prepared with ingredients listed above

hot cocoa mixes, nondairy cream substitutes, flavored instant coffee, herbal tea

beer, ale, malted beverages

licorice store all gluten-free products in your refrigerator or freezer because they do not contain preservatives.

Avoid sauces, gravies, canned fish, products with hydrolyzed vegetable protein or hydrolyzed plant protein (hvp/hpp) made from wheat protein, and anything with questionable ingredients.

2001, the american dietetic association. "patient education materials: supplement to the manual of clinical dietetics." 3rd ed. Used with permission.


what are the complications of celiac disease?

Damage to the small intestine and the resulting nutrient absorption problems put a person with celiac disease at risk for malnutrition and anemia as well as several diseases and health problems.

Lymphoma and adenocarcinoma are cancers that can develop in the intestine.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak, brittle, and prone to breaking. Poor calcium absorption contributes to osteoporosis.
Miscarriage and congenital malformation of the baby, such as neural tube defects, are risks for pregnant women with untreated celiac disease because of nutrient absorption problems.
Short stature refers to being significantly under-the-average height. Short stature results when childhood celiac disease prevents nutrient absorption during the years when nutrition is critical to a child's normal growth and development. Children who are diagnosed and treated before their growth stops may have a catch-up period.

how common is celiac disease?

Data on the prevalence of celiac disease is spotty. In italy, about 1 in 250 people and in ireland about 1 in 300 people have celiac disease. Recent studies have shown that it may be more common in africa, south america, and asia than previously believed.

Until recently, celiac disease was thought to be uncommon in the united states. However, studies have shown that celiac disease is very common. Recent findings estimate about 2 million people in the united states have celiac disease, or about 1 in 133 people. Among people who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease.

Celiac disease could be under diagnosed in the united states for a number of reasons including:

celiac symptoms can be attributed to other problems.
Many doctors are not knowledgeable about the disease.
Only a small number of u.S. Laboratories are experienced and skilled in testing for celiac disease.
More research is needed to learn the true prevalence of celiac disease among americans.


points to remember
people with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats.
Celiac disease damages the small intestine and interferes with nutrient absorption.
Without treatment, people with celiac disease can develop complications like cancer, osteoporosis, anemia, and seizures.
A person with celiac disease may or may not have symptoms.
Diagnosis involves blood tests and a biopsy of the small intestine.
Since celiac disease is hereditary, family members of a person with celiac disease may wish to be tested.
Celiac disease is treated by eliminating all gluten from the diet. The gluten-free diet is a lifetime requirement.
A dietitian can teach a person with celiac disease food selection, label reading, and other strategies to help manage the disease.

diseases linked to celiac disease
people with celiac disease tend to have other autoimmune diseases. The connection between celiac disease and these diseases may be genetic. These diseases include

thyroid disease
systemic lupus erythematosus
type 1 diabetes
liver disease
collagen vascular disease
rheumatoid arthritis
sjögren's syndrome

dermatitis herpetiformis
dermatitis herpetiformis (dh) is a severe itchy, blistering manifestation of celiac disease. The rash usually occurs on the elbows, knees, and buttocks. Not all people with celiac disease develop dermatitis herpetiformis. Unlike other forms of celiac disease, the range of intestinal abnormalities in dh is highly variable, from minimal to severe. Only about 20 percent of people with dh have intestinal symptoms of celiac disease.

To diagnose dh, the doctor will test the person's blood for autoantibodies related to celiac disease and will biopsy the person's skin. If the antibody tests are positive and the skin biopsy has the typical findings of dh, patients do not need to have an intestinal biopsy. Both the skin disease and the intestinal disease respond to gluten-free diet and recur if gluten is added back into diet. In addition, the rash symptoms can be controlled with medications such as dapsone (4',4'diamino-diphenylsuphone). However, dapsone does not treat the intestinal condition and people with dh should also maintain a gluten-free diet.


hope through research
the national institute of diabetes and digestive and kidney diseases (niddk) conducts and supports research on celiac disease. Niddk-supported researchers are studying the genetic and environmental causes of celiac disease. In addition, researchers are studying the substances found in gluten that are believed to be responsible for the destruction of the immune system function, as happens in celiac disease. They are engineering enzymes designed to destroy these immunotoxic peptides. Researchers are also developing educational materials for standardized medical training to raise awareness among healthcare providers. The hope is that increased understanding and awareness will lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease.

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replied April 8th, 2006
Experienced User
Hi There.
Hi there. I wanted to mention one other thing for the women who are posting their symptoms on this particular forum. I had posted a relevant article/information on ovarian cancer/symptoms and tests done to detect it. The reason why I did it was because as I was researching on this "lol irrelevant" site called google--i had read an interesting article about this woman whose doctor had diagnosed her as having ibs--she had back pain, bloated (stomach tenderness), painful or irregular cycles, and occasional constipation. She also suffered from the occasional urinary tract infection. She had tests done and they were all coming back normal. She ended up having ovarian cancer (it was fortunately caught in a stage where it could be treated and had to be on chemotherapy). I know I posted the long information on here in its entirety. Life can't be explained in a paragraph (or a newspaper article/because the war for example would be the entire newspaper--not just a page or two)--i posted its entirety--to show all of the information which is relevant--because it does show tests to rule out just that "ovarian cancer" or cysts. Ibs can cause the same things "especially during the woman's cycle--and the articles on the web had stated that a woman who has ibs can have either irregular cycles or very painful ones"--my doctor had ordered an abdominal ct scan/as well as a pelvic ct scan--and both came back normal for me. However, this woman who had ovarian cancer (was misdiagnosed with irrelevant ibs --sorry but that guy annoyed me)--said that she had a pelvic test done and it came back normal--i posted something about ovarian cancer--symptoms/tests to check it--it wasn't pelvic--but something else which is more accurate in finding ovarian cancer/or just detecting it if it is that (and not just ibs)--more women than men are diagnosed with ibs (but more women than men go more to the doctors to complain about it). Not to say that men don't go to the doctors as often--but men experience the symptoms of ibs differently (hormones/physiological aspects could be the reason why women feel it more as intense and go more where guys could just see it as an annoyance that comes and goes). Men are indeed diagnosed with ibs--the percentages are lower---but 50 million people have ibs--so this isn't that uncommon (and you can research it yourself so mine is apparently from one guy useless information at best). Men do get this---the symptoms are the same---more money is spent on gastro doctors, people with ibs are usually referred to their gastro doctors by their own doctor. But as I said, it is important to go to doctors and have tests done to rule anything out. Never just diagnose yourself or go online to find answers. Before I posted my long postings on ibs--i went the westernized route, worked with my doctor--had tests done (endoscopy, colonoscopy, abdominal ct/pelvic scan, blood tests, chest ct scan) before my doctor diagnosed me as ibs. My doctor had recommended accupuncture--which is good for people who have these symptoms on this site, who have had medical tests that came out fine--and who are looking for ways to deal with this. I was also looking up "neural therapy" which anyone can research on here--very relevant---it deals with electrodes that are placed on the nerves--stimulates the nerves--nervous system---because ibs is from the brain to the gut reaction--people with ibs have something called "intestinal motility disorder" or a sensitive colon which is affected by two main things (1.) the foods we eat and (2.) stress. This problem affects the brain/gut--the entire nervous system and the nerves around the organs--or else we wouldn't feel pain or pressure--so if anyone is interested look up "neural therapy" and see if there is anyplace in your area that does it. Probiotics is another alternative. Our intestine naturally creates good bacteria but sometimes when we are sick "immune system is down" or have a virus--bad bacteria invades causing the intestinal flora to become imbalanced--this can also affect the digestive system. Research more on probiotics if you are interested in that as well. It helps restore the good bacteria and keep the bad bacteria out. Exercise is always a good thing--as well as drinking lots of water--to flush all of it out (a natural colon cleanser like I said). Also, it helps not to eat before going to bed--either eat earlier in the evening (around 4 but never before bed or a couple of hours before bed (not even snacking). I used to do that--i wouldn't eat a huge meal but I might've had something small to eat--and I would wake up the next morning with dull pain under my left rib--and my stomach would feel full and heavy (and it was a small thing I ate to have all these symptoms). That is why it is good to have that celiac blood test done (especially for those who do have ibs) because certain foods irritate those who have ibs and they may actually be allergic to those foods as well (not just ibs alone causing the symptoms)--you have to have a specific blood test to test for celiac syndrome (not just a general blood test). I also read somewhere from my irrlevant research on the web--that you could also have a specific stool sample analyzed to test for ibs (bacteria, parasites) or anything else that may be causing these symptoms. Food plays a large role--in these symptoms/including the pressure and pain--whether dull or extreme--and since we do eat everyday--this can become a chronic/life-long thing we may have to do with--so I posted a lot--because the entire information was relevant--if you spend lots of money finding answers through doctors, numerous tests--so forth--reading more than one paragraph shouldn't be any more of a pain--(at least i'm not charging you to provide this information) but doing so--to give more insight in anyone on here who would like to research it further to help themselves or to provide information that is useful to ask their doctors (to get diagnosed as well). I by far never meant to post tons of information to annoy anyone and I hope I didn't.

I had no clue what ibs was--i always assoicated it with the bowel (bowel movements--something I didn't have any symptoms for or problems with) mine was mostly pain under the left rib/stomach area---digesting/digestion--not bowel) from researching---the bowel--is part of the entire digestive system--ibs isn't just "bowel" alone---its the colon---where all the food goes eventually---people with ibs have a sensitive colon or "spastic colon"--they are more prone to be sensitive and have reactions/symptoms after eating than people who don't. My problem wasn't having a bowel movement--mine was pain under the ribs, in the abdomen, lower back, and on the left side of my chest. The colon (part of what ibs) can create the pressure to everything everyone on here is feeling.

I went the complete westernized route--had tests/process of elimination (everything came back normal) before I posted everything I could about ibs. Ibs is very misunderstood (even to me when I was diagnosed). I thought "how could my symptoms be associated with something like this" I always thought it had to do with people who had problems with their bowel---but its much more than that..Which is why doctors first refer their patients to a gastro doctor to make sure it isn't that before coming to this diagnosis (for ibs)--my lol (irrelvant) research led me to find that 50 million people suffer from ibs--many spend lots of money on gastro doctors (thinking it has something to do with esophagus), antacids/medication, and sometimes unnecessary surgery--when it is actually ibs (which is chronic/life-long--and not cancerous--you won't die from it--it does indeed cause pressure and effects a lot of people--food and stress does cause symptoms to flare up more in people with ibs) but it isn't life threatening.

I'm sorry for annoying anyone with my long posts--but I believe the information is relevant and important for anyone on this particular forum (especially for those who have had tests done for these very symptoms/and they were normal)--and if I only posted the website link --i know a lot of people on here do check this site for new and useful information--so I posted it all (out of convenience--and to help others in their journey of finding answers).
You can't always find answers from one test nor can you always find answers from one doctor. This journey (like I call it) was long--i battled with this everyday for 2 and a 1/2 years (some of that looking for answers through medical tests/information from my doctor) and through all of this--this was the result "ibs"..I only posted many long paragraphs (especially on ibs) after I was diagnosed and not before---and believe it is very relevant in the journey to finding answers to anyone's symptoms, pressure, and pain. Thanks.
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replied April 8th, 2006
Experienced User
Abdominal bloating
many people believe that too much gas causes abdominal bloating. However, people who complain of bloating from gas often have normal amounts and distribution of gas. They actually may be unusually aware of gas in the digestive tract.
Doctors believe that bloating is usually the result of an intestinal motility disorder, such as ibs. Motility disorders are characterized by abnormal movements and contractions of intestinal muscles. These disorders may give a false sensation of bloating because of increased sensitivity to gas.
Splenic-flexure syndrome is a chronic disorder that seems to be caused by trapped gas at bends (flexures) in the colon. Symptoms include bloating, muscle spasms, and upper abdominal discomfort. Splenic-flexure syndrome often accompanies ibs.
Any disease that causes intestinal obstruction, such as crohn's disease or colon cancer, may also cause abdominal bloating. In addition, people who have had many operations, adhesions (scar tissue), or internal hernias may experience bloating or pain. Finally, eating a lot of fatty food can delay stomach emptying and cause bloating and discomfort, but not necessarily too much gas.
Gas in the digestive tract (that is, the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine) comes from two sources:
· swallowed air
· normal breakdown of certain undigested foods by harmless bacteria naturally present in the large intestine (colon).
Thus, the basic abnormality in persons with gas-related problems may be a hypersensitive intestine. In the splenic flexure syndrome, swallowed air becomes trapped in the splenic flexure and may cause diffuse abdominal distention. Left upper quadrant fullness and pressure radiating to the left side of the chest may result. There is increased tympany in the extreme left lateral aspect of the upper abdomen. Relief occurs with defecation or passage of flatus.

Splenic flexure syndrome
(splen-ik flek-shur sin-drohm)
a condition that occurs when air or gas collects in the upper parts of the colon. Causes pain in the upper left abdomen. The pain often moves to the left chest and may be confused with heart problems.
For the past few weeks, I have been experiencing upper left abdominal pain. The pain is slight and it comes and goes. Sometimes I also experience bloating, belching along with the pains. The first time this pain occurred it seemed almost like a runner’s pain, you know that feeling when you run fast and get a pain on your left side. The pain was dull and it would last for most of the day. Sometimes like today I feel that weird pain or discomfort on the upper left side and it almost feels like gas today. I have had ibs for several years now. So just as a precautionary measure I visited my gastroenterologist and he thinks it may be a functional problem so he advised me to up my dose of my anti-spasmatic medication and sent me for an abdominal sonogram. Has anyone experience this? Could this just be another form of the side effects from ibs? Thank you for any advice or insight on this.
Posts: 1 | registered: 21 october 2005

nancycat very prolific member posted 21 october 2005 12:17 pm 21 october 2005 12:17 pm
i think theres a place called the splenic flexure which is near where you feel the pain you describe. I am pretty sure that its a normal place for ibs'rs to notice
overview of splenic flexure syndrome

pain in the left upper abdomen may in some cases result from distension or spasm of the splenic flexure of the colon. The splenic flexure is that portion of the colon or large intestine that changes direction from horizontal to vertical in the left upper abdomen, adjacent to the spleen. Passage of stool or gas may relieve the abdominal discomfort. Food occasionally may aggravate pain and may be associated with diarrhea or constipation. Changes in the size and shape of the stool may occur. When these episodes occur, they tend to come in clusters lasting weeks or months at a time.
Causes of splenic flexure syndrome

splenic flexure syndrome is a very common cause of left upper abdominal pain. It is thought to be due to distension or spasm of the splenic flexure of the colon.
Signs and symptoms of splenic flexure syndrome

left upper abdominal pain is the most common symptom. The pain may be relieved by passing stool or gas. Occasionally, eating may aggravate the pain. The pain may only last minutes, but when it recurs it does so many times for weeks or months on end. Diarrhea, constipation and changes in the size and shape of the stool may occur.
Body area abdomen
general symptom abdominal pain - left upper - localized

left upper abdominal pain
bowel movement relieves pain
passing gas relieves pain
pencil or ribbon shaped stools
episodes last weeks/months
dietary bran decreases symptoms
possible diagnosis of localized abdominal pain(left upper)
splenic flexure syndrome - colon cancer - irritable bowel syndrome - diverticulosis - ulcerative colitis - crohn's disease -
· the possible diseases above are ones that may occur with localized abdominal pain(left upper) symptom.
· by clicking on the possible diseases below, a summary of the disease will appear with links to other disease symptoms.
· tests are listed which are commonly ordered when these symptoms are present.
Intestinal motility disorder
visible distention of the abdomen may be the result of an intestinal motility disorder, such as splenic-flexure syndrome. This is a chronic disorder in which gas is trapped in bends in the colon. It may accompany irritable bowel syndrome, an essentially benign disorder. Symptoms include bloating, abdominal discomfort and muscle spasms.
Triggered by trapped gas at the left flexure (bend) of the large colon.
This flexure is located where the large colon runs horizontally then
bends downwards towards the rectum. This bend occurs near the
spleen--hence the name ‘splenic flexure.’ trapped gas in this location
can cause pain to be felt in the chest region. Called ‘referred pain,’
since the pain is felt in a region distant from the source, it can mimic
heart disease. Gas trapped in the right flexure can mimic pain of gall
bladder disease or appendicitis.

Belladonna alkaloids produce many effects in the body, including relief from spasms of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines), the bladder, and the biliary tract. This is helpful in controlling conditions such as colitis, spastic bladder, diverticulitis, infant colic, renal and biliary colic, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, splenic flexure syndrome, and pancreatitis.

Levbid produces many effects in the body, including relief from spasms of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines), the bladder, and the biliary tract. This is helpful in controlling conditions such as colitis, spastic bladder, diverticulitis, infant colic, renal and biliary colic, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, splenic flexure syndrome, and pancreatitis

levsin is effective as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of peptic ulcer. It can also be used to control gastric secretion, visceral spasm and hypermotility in spastic colitis, spastic bladder, cystitis, pylorospasm, and associated abdominal cramps. May be used in functional intestinal disorders to reduce symptoms such as those seen in mild dysenteries, diverticulitis, and acute enterocolitis; for use as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (irritable colon, spastic colon, mucous colitis) and functional gastrointestinal disorders. Also used as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of neurogenic bladder and neurogenic bowel disturbances (including the splenic flexure syndrome and neurogenic colon). Also used in the treatment of infant colic (elixir and drops). Levsin is indicated along with morphine or other narcotics in symptomatic relief of biliary and renal colic; as a "drying agent" in the relief of symptoms of acute rhinitis; in the therapy of parkinsonism to reduce rigidity and tremors and to control associated sialorrhea and hyperhidrosis. May be used in the therapy of poisoning b anticholinesterase agents.
Bloating may have several causes, the most common being accumulation of liquids and intestinal gas. Ascites is the proper medical term for abdominal bloating cause by excessive accumulation of liquid inside the cavity

common causes for abdominal bloating are:
overeating (gastric distension)
lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance and other food intolerances
food allergy
aerophagia (air swallowing, a nervous habit)
alvarez’ syndrome, hysterical or neurotic abdominal bloating without excess of gas in the digestive tract
irritable bowel syndrome
partial bowel obstruction
gastric dumping syndrome or rapid gastric emptying
the ingestion of some gas-producing foods
splenic-flexure syndrome
menstruation, dysmenorrhea and premenstrual stress syndrome
polycystic ovary syndrome and ovarian cysts
massive infestation with intestinal parasites, such as worms (e.G, ascaris lumbricoides)
important but uncommon causes of abdominal bloating include large intra-abdominal tumors, such as those arising from ovarian, liver, uterus and stomach cancer; and megacolon, an abnormal dilation of the colon, due to some diseases, such as chagas disease, a parasitic infection.
Splenic flexure syndrome
this is the term given to distension with gas of that part of the large intestine in the region of the spleen. Because the colon makes a 90 degree turn at this location, gas may get trapped causing the colon to distend. Since this location is just beneath the diaphragm, the location of the pain appears to be coming from the lower left chest. It may be distinguished from cardiac pain by its intermittent, colicky behavior, and fluctuations in intensity of the pain. Also passage of flatus gives temporary relief
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replied April 21st, 2006
Hi everyone. It is weird that others are experiencing some of the same symptoms that I have been experiencing for 2 years. I have had sharp shooting pains that come and go on my left side just under my rib. I have noticed that it occurs most when I move twist but not always. It feels like something is passing through or a drip feeling. I have had many test for kidney stones and it always turns up negative. I am scheduled to see a kidney specialist but I dont think this is a kidney problem. Does anyone else feel this?
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replied April 21st, 2006
Hi, sorry you are having this pain. Does food affect it?
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replied April 24th, 2006
No food does not seem to bother me but when I was reading the blog I saw something about dairy and dairy does seem to upset my stomach every time I eat it. I also have acid reflex disease but I dont think it has anything to do with the pains...
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replied May 2nd, 2006
Experienced User
to Bigblue
Hi there. I know you had tests done for kidney stones. Have you even done a proteinuria test (its a urine test/24 hour urine test) that tests the levels of proteins to see if they are high or low for your kidney. Also, this is a generalized question here--but do you ever feel like you have to go to the bathroom (like a pressure feeling) even though you've already gone. Do you ever get like a pressure feeling (either in the lower abdominal area or in the bladder)--and does the pain ever hurt under the rib when you do go to the bathroom? Do you ever get frequent urinary infections? The reason I am asking is that I felt many of these symptoms--had pretty much every test you could think of--blood tests, abdominal ct scan, chest ct scan, endoscopy--

the abdominal ct scan--even though it is quite expensive--covers a range of organs around the abdominal region (including the kidney, the pelvic area, and under both ribs---spleen and gallbladder). After all of these tests my doctor (through process of elimination only/this doesn't necessarily mean he is on target) but thinks it is ibs. Another thing that you could try--i think you mentioned that food doesn't affect the pain under the rib--so I would then get an abdominal/pelvic ct scan---and get that checked out...It covers a lot(even though it is kind of expensive)--it covers a range here (pretty much every organ near the abdominal area that many people on this forum are complaining or having a problem with)
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replied May 2nd, 2006
Experienced User
One More Thing--to Bigblue
You also said that dairy upsets your stomach...You could be lactose intolerant. There is a celiac blood test that actually tests any food allergies you may have (which is another option)--have you cut back on dairy---does it help lessen the pain under the rib.
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replied May 3rd, 2006
Well I have had the 24 hour urine test and now I am heading to a kidney specialist next month because the test reported that I was losing protein in my urine. I do feel that I have to urinate a lot but do not have pain while urinating. I dont think the pain in my left side is due to dairy. Dairy bothers my stomach but I dont notice a difference in the amount of pain in my side when I cut down on dairy.
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replied May 4th, 2006
Left Side Recurring Pain Under Ribs
I am a 34yr old male. No smoking or drinking. I am 5'8 and 165lbs.

I have looked through several of the posts to this topic but there are so many that I have not read them all, so please forgive me if this question has already been answered.

For last year or so I have had a lot of bloating and belching. About four months ago I was jogging and I starting belching and could taste blood. A few hours later I was passing black stool and new I had a problem. I went to the doctor and he confirmed that I had blood in my stool. Since it was black he ordered an endoscopy. I also have been taking various medications for gerd, but had not been taking them for about a month prior to this incident. I started the gerd meds back up. I had the endoscopy about a week later. It turned up nothing but the doctor said there could have been a small tear that had healed in the week since I noticed the blood. I have not had any incidents of noticable blood in my stool since, but I have been terribly stressed about my health. So much so that was put on anti anxiety meds. For the last month or so, I have been having recurring pain on my left side, under my ribs. The pain is usually at the point where my elbow comes into contact with my side when I put my arms down, but it has been lower and more towards the back. It has not been severe and I can find nothing that either causes it or relieves it. The pain just comes and goes. Is this a similar location as the pain you all have had?

I am scheduled for a ct scan of that area. I have had blood work and I am not anemic, nor am I overly fatigued. What is really freaking me out is this worry that the blood in stool is somehow related and that I have something terrible. My doctor is not acting overly concerned but I never know. Have any of you come across anything that might explain this?

Thanks and I hope you all are feeling better!
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replied May 14th, 2006
Severe Abdominal Pressure
I've seen alot of people on here saying they have pressure and pain under their ribcage on the left side. I've been having alot of pressure all the way across, not just the left side. My stomach feels like it's pushed out as far as it will go.And if i'm sitting, it feels like someone has a belt tightened around the area.I was just treated for an ovarian cyst, and had it removed. I was also having this other problem at the time. So they did an abdominal ultrasound and said everything looks normal. I was hoping it was related to the cyst problem. Apparently it wasn't. Also, I have had previous surgeries and had cysts removed but never had this additional problem. It kind of comes and goes. It seems that even if I eat a little, it feels like I swallowed a watermelon. Sitting is almost unbearable. This has been going on about a month or so. I don't want to start the "multiple tests rigamaroll" until I have some idea of what I might have so I can point the doctors in the right direction.Any ideas out there?
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replied May 15th, 2006
I have been batteling pain under my left ribcage for the last 4-5 months. I had it on my right too, but had gallbladder removed and that is better but pain still on left. I have had almost every test done (catscans, barium enema, ultrasound, bloodwork, etc) and everything keeps coming back normal. I finally went back to my allergist and she found I have developed a mild allergy to dairy and eggs and told me to stay away from them for three weeks to see if it makes a difference. I am going into week number three and I do see a difference...The pain on my left is better. I cheated a few times, and felt it. My regular and gi drs think it is acid reflux, so on meds for that too but really think it is allergy related. My bloodwork for celiacs came back normal, so that is not it. May be good to ask your dr for that work-up and see an allergist? Also, you have give up the foods that bother you for longer than a week. Good luck!
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replied May 18th, 2006
Experienced User

i am 18 years old and have been having several problems with my stomach for the past two years. I have been to the doctor many times, and have had many tests ran.

Sometimes I have no pain what so ever. But when I do have pain it is under my ribcage, on either side. But my left ribcage sometimes with start bulging out and making a horrible noise. Like I have eaten. At first the doctor said I had an ulcer, then he told me ibs. He has done lots of blood work on me as well. He has put me on medicine for depression. I have been to a specialist about this problem, and they said they found alittle white spot but no biggie :roll: .

Well I started noticing when I went to use the bathroom it felt like my bladder was about to bust, but then when I did use the bathroom I could only pee alittle. Then a few seconds later back to the bathroom I would have to go. I been classified as having everything from gallbladder stones to kidney infections to uti's.

Well about two weeks ago I noticed my ovaries felt like they were cramping, and my stomach started hurting really really bad the worst pain is within both ribcages and my back starts having sharp pains.

Well early yesterday morning I woke up feeling fine. Then all of a sudden I started having pain I have never felt before. So I was rushed to the er. They ran several test, the ultra sound and such. They didn't see anything, but my bladder was really full. So they said they weren't for sure but by the type of fluids from my tests, I had a cyst that ruptured.

Its very painful and I was just wondering if anyone else has a doctor tell them the same? :?:
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